Toy Store Owners Rule!!

astra_northwest_001.jpgI went into Portland last night to Green Frog Toys in the Pearl district in Portland. There I met up with some of the coolest people I know, and they all own toy stores. Pat Fielder who owns Green Frog was there of course. You may be more familiar with her other store, Childs Play that is up on Northwest 23rd. Also present was Eddie who owns Mudpuddles in Sherwood, and her manager Rebecca, Katey and Errol Noel from the Toy Factory in Corvallis, Mary Sissons from Kazoodles in Vancouver, Jen from G Willikers in Hood River, Sherri from Let's Play in Hillsboro, Celia from Frogs and Pollywogs in Albany, Merrick from Piccolo Mondo in Bethany village, and Grammy and Nona from Grammy and Nona's on NE Lombard in Portland. At other events we have entertained Bill from Sandcastle toys in Newport, Stacie from Leapin' Lizards in Bend, and Ty and Joan of Thinker Toys in Multnomah village.

We get together to talk toys, and to see how we are all faring with whatever seems to be at issue currently. This year the economy, last year toy recalls, always stinky diapers, and reviews on new toys. We always come away with new ideas to implement in our own stores. New practices that benefit us and our customers. It is through this practice that many of our stores feel so familiar to our customers when they are traveling from one town to another. Most of us are members of ASTRA which is the American Toys Specialty Retailers Association.

I am able to rely on the experience of the other toy store owners, and bring fresh insight and new ways of doing things in return. We help each other fill customer requests so that we don't need to order a minimum to make our people happy. We learn about new items on the market so we can have the best quality most exciting toys in our stores for our customers. Through my association with them, I have discovered Zoobies, Wheelie Bugs, Play foam, Quirkle, and so many more... it would be silly to list them. I guess my point is that I and my customers are so much better off for my knowing these folks. I can stand on their shoulders and speak with the confidence of having decades of experience behind me. Just wanted to mention the men and women behind the curtain because well, they rock.

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